Jewish artist: Lillian Bassman and her mirrors

Lillian Bassman and her mirrors

Daughters of two Jewish intellectuals from Ukraine and Russia who immigrated to the United States in 1905, Lillian Bassman grew up in Brooklyn and Greenwich Village in Manhattan.

She studied at Textile High School in New York with Alexey Brodovitch and from the 1940s to the 1960s she was a fashion photographer forJuniors Bazaar” and then for “Harper’s Bazaar”.

Always under the guidance of Alexey Brodovitch, she photographs her models in black and white. But in the 70’s she moves towards pure forms in her practice and then turns to a more personal practice of photography.

She put aside 40 years of negatives and prints: in short, the work of a lifetime. This forgotten corpus was rehabilitated at the end of the last century when she became interested in digital technology and abstract colour photography and even Photoshop.

In all her photographic approach the use of strong contrasts between light and darkness, the geometric placement of models or shapes and her shooting angles make her a photographer apart in American photography.

Women’s skins sometimes seem to be waiting to be caressed, and firmaments hang from their necks. The question of momentum is always grafted onto these grains of memory, which sometimes take on the appearance of a sophisticated, vintage look.

What is sewn in some photographers or, conversely, left too open, the artist removes the roundness that yet the image is tamed in a kind of forced march over time.

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